Excursions in Andorra
Those who visit Andorra can make a closer acquaintance with the natural beauty of its valleys and historical heritage by means of manifold touristic routes that encompass the whole country. They allow travelling back to the past of the country, to the times when bishops, feudals and peasants used to live in harmony.
One of the most interesting routes is Iron Route. The first reference goes back the XVI century. This was the time when iron stone extraction became one of the most popular types of industrial activity. The route around the granite made architectural monuments at Escaldes-Engordany and Sant Julia de Loria provinces is no less interesting.
The tours around Encamp and La Massana provinces allow discovering the traditions and spiritual life of Andorra, that count more than 700-year old history. In Ordino province visitors have a chance to walk around the places, where the poet Verdaguer used to live.
The bus tours around the most interesting sights of Andorra, its past and present, are available in summer time.
1. Route 1—Iron Route—invites the tourists to rediscover iron stone deposits, to get to know about the peculiarities of its excavation, recycling and the production of iron in the period from the XVII to XIX centuries. The obligatory place to attend is Rossel blacksmith shop. It used to work from 1842 till 1876, being a real competitor of Spain in the production of forged iron goods. Here one may find the tups and other tools, used by blacksmiths. Look here for details
2. Route 2—Country Life Trail. The peculiarities of Andorran territory development are based on intensive but rational approach to the usage of natural resources of this mountainous country. This culture, launched by the farmers, shepherds, masons, blacksmiths, miners, foresters and weavers, can be traced everywhere. Three houses, that can be attended by the visitors, will tell about the peculiarities of life of different social strata that used to live centuries ago. We talk about the following houses: Casa Cristo (Encamp), Casa Rull de Sispony House-Museum and Casa d’Areny Plandolit (Ordino).
3. Route 3—this is a voyage to Madriu-Perafita-Claror valley. In 2004 it was announced one of 84 global architectural monuments of the UNESCO in the category of unique landscapes. This is a wonderful place that symbolizes the harmony of nature and human. The area of the valley, located to the south-east from Andorran capital, makes up 4,247 hectares –this is 1/10 of the total area of the country. Madriu-Perafita-Claror is a beloved place of Andorran citizens that remained untouched from the medieval times. Dry rubble walls, grassing livestock and the absence of big amounts of people give the feeling of returning to the past. The only difference from the medieval times is more developed animal husbandry, but this aspect doesn’t interfere the primevalness of this valley. There is the second, from the significance point of view, water pond of the country. Its length makes up 12 km. The altitude difference between the highest and the lowest marks is 1,855 m; 1050m above the sea level at the lowest point of Escaldes-Engordany and 2,905m above the sea level at the highest point, called Portelleta. One may encounter rare animals and plants in the valley. No matter which route you select, anywhere you will encounter small shepherd houses in traditional Andorran style, as well as enclosed lands, where vegetables are planted. Those who prefer unusual experience may spend a summer night in one of the huts of the valley.
The tours should be booked in advance:
Escaldes-Engordany touristic office: (+376) 890 881
Andorran National Committee on the UNESCO Affairs: (+376) 825 700
4. Route 4—Comapedrosa National Park—is located in the northern-west of Andorra, La Massana province. The area of the National Park is 1,543 hectares, the highest peak Comapedrosa is located at the height of 2,942 m above the sea level. It is known that the first ascending to Comapedrosa peak took place on September 22, 1858. Mountainous landscapes, lakes with trout , waterfalls and springs are the main showplaces of this route. The National Park contains a large amount of mountainous paths of different complexity levels that makes it available for the tourists of different age groups. In summer time a restaurant is functioning in one of the huts. It is also possible to spend a night in here and see the sunrise of incomparable beauty in the morning. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that there are only four rooms with 12 beds each in the hut. But the price is more than reasonable—11 euro per night. The average bill in the restaurant is 16 euro (the menu of the day costs 9,50 euro). The cost of breakfast is 7,50 euro.
The National Park is a favorite place of Andorran schools that organize tours and classes on wild nature here. The drawing school for the children, aged from 6 to 10 is also functioning here.
The touristic office of the park: (+376) 647 021 (works only in summer)
5. Route 5—Canillo Route –there are 12 stops in the course of the route over Canillo, where tourists will see the monuments of cultural and spiritual heritage of Canillo parroquia. The walk will take about 3 hours. The stops: Sant Joan Church, Sant Cerni Church, Santa Creu Church, Sant Miguel de Prats Church, Sant Bernart de Menthon Chapel, the forged iron cross and Charlemagne sculpture—the monuments in the open air and also the main church of Andorra and its chapels.
6. Route 6—Encamp Route. The tour over the monuments of Romanesque architecture is a voyage to the past that demonstrates the cultural and spiritual heritage of the previous centuries. This tour includes the visits to the churches of Sant Miguel, Sant Joan and Santa Eulalia. The route finishes in the museum, dedicated to spiritual art. Here you will find liturgical items: the sconce of Roman period icon ( embossing), bronze censer of the XIV century, the cross of 1671 and the reproduction of the medieval manuscript and parchments of the XVI-XVII.
The cost of the ticket is 3 euro. Children under 6 years-old –free. Thursday—Saturday, 10.00 in accordance to the preliminary booking.
Encamp touristic office: (+576) 731 000
The tour to hydroelectric power station at the Engolasters Lake is available since July till September.
7. Route 7—Ordino Route. Mossen Cinto Verdaguer is one of the most eminent Catalan writers that used to live in Andorra in Renaissance period. It is known that he was an amateur of walks and in 1883 walked over all Andorran valleys. During his journey he got acquainted with the peculiarities of folklore, history, geography and legends that were told to him by local citizens. In order to walk around the picturesque places, related to the name of this writer, it is necessary to go up by funicular. The cost of round trip journey is 8.20 euro (for adults) and 6,25 euro (for children). The price of one-way ticket is 6 euro (for adults) and 4,40 euro (for children).
The tour to La vall de Sorteny is offered separately. This is the park of 1800 hectares area that can be called the heaven on the earth without any exaggerations as far as there are 800 of species of different flowers and plants. Some of them can be found only at the foot of the Pyrenees. This is also the place of inhabitance for such rare animals as Pyrenean chamois, roe and boar. The park also offers the access to the highest peaks in Andorra: l’Estanyo (2,915 m), where the most beautiful mountainous lake is located, and Serrera (2,913 m). In case of interest the guide is ready to provide complete information on the diversity and peculiarities of flora and fauna, including butterflies, birds and insects. Catering service is available in the park all year round.
“Ordino Culture”. This route lasts 2,5 hours and starts from the center of Ordino city, where one may have a walk around the ancient streets, visit its churches and gardens. The route is valid from July 3 till September 2. From Tuesday till Saturday, at 15.30, the route starts from the touristic office in the center of Ordino. It is obligatory to make preliminary booking.
The cost of the ticket is 8 euro for adults, 3 euro for the persons, older than 65. Children under 12 years old—free.
8. Route 8—La Massana Route. Did you hear that in the times of WW2 the refugees found the shelter in Palangues hotel? Would you like to know, how the farmers used to live in La Massana in the beginning of the XX century? Are you interested, why Sant Clement was the Pope against his will? Andorran farmer from the previous century will accompany you in the time travel in order to answer these and other questions and also tells about the traditions of this part of Andorra and its legends.
The tours are organized from July till August. The preliminary booking is obligatory. It is also possible to drive around La Massana provinces: Sant Clement Church (Pal sector), Sant Christofol (Anyos) and Sant Marti (La Cortinada village), the Tristiana Lake, cognonimous waterfall and Les Salines Bridge as well as Cal Pal Blacksmith Shop and Mill.
La Massana touristic office: (+376) 835 693
9. Route 9—Andorra la Vella Route. “Green zone”—these are the paths in the mountains, where one may encounter historical and cultural architectural monuments against most beautiful mountainous views and landscapes. It is no less interesting to attend the old city of Andorra la Vella, to walk along its quiet stony streets and visit one of the oldest quarters, where in the XVIII century lived a famous judge of Barcelona court Don Francisco de Zamora.
Andorra la Vella touristic office: (+376) 873 103
10. Route 10- Sant Julia de Loria Route—the walking route over the center of social and cultural life of the province, called The architectural monuments in this small mountainous village with livestock pastures and stony buildings are dated to the XII century. We recommend visiting the Tobacco Museum.
Sant Julia de Loria touristic office: (+376) 744 045
11. Route 11—Escaldes-Engordany Route. This route allows getting acquainted with the customs and traditions of this province. It also provides the understanding of architectural and mundane life changes from the XIX century up to now. Ancient granite buildings are in the perfect state. One of the examples is Lacruz House, built by the Catalan architect Puig I Cadafalch. It is interesting to know that in the majority of the hotels of this province, such as Valira and Carlemany –hot water has got natural origin. In Europe Caldea hot springs SPA complex, that is located in the neighborhood (in Escaldes province) is very popular.
Ecaldes-Engordany touristic office: (+376) 890 881